A casting director for Peter Jackson’s upcoming film adaptations of “The Hobbit” has been fired after placing newspaper ads seeking extras with “light skin tones” only. According to a spokesperson for Jackson’s production company, no specifications regarding skin color were ever made, and the crew member took it upon themselves to only audition actors with pale skin for hobbit characters. Apparently believing that hobbits could only be played by whites.
“We are looking for light-skinned people. I’m not trying to be – whatever. It’s just the brief. You’ve got to look like a hobbit” a representative from the company was recorded on record telling the crowd of 700 who auditioned.
Much of this controversy has to do with an earlier report by The Sydney Morning Herald who wrote about an aspiring actress named Naz Humphreys who had tried to audition as an extra but was denied the chance due to the color of her skin.
Humphreys who is 5 ft tall has all the essential requirements to be a hobbit extra, but the British Pakistani was told that she’s not white enough.
“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” Ms Humphreys said, who traveled from Auckland to Hamilton last Tuesday to audition.
“The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned,” she said.
A spokesman for Sir Peter Jackson said the filmmaker was unaware of the casting restriction and described it as “an incredibly unfortunate error”.
Ms Humphreyshas has since set up a Facebook page entitled “Hire Hobbits of all colours! Say No to Hobbit racism!” to bring aware to the issue. Apparently it worked as the message of hobbit discrimination has reached the big wigs at Sir Peter Jackson who have decided to deal with the situation personally.